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Reply Cards in international mail – The story behind an UPU oddity – Eric Scherer

March 13 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

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Eric Scherer, FRPSL, lives in Switzerland and has been a philatelist since his youth days. Currently he is member of the board of the German Philatelic Association BDPh and a member of the European Academy of Philately AEP. He is an avid exhibitor and first participated in a local stamp show in Germany 1978 and first participated at a FIP show at Ameripex 1986. His current interests are reply cards in international mail and the postal history of French India. In 2022 he wrote a much acclaimed book on the early postal history of India until the 1820s published by the Club de Monaco.

Reply cards used in international mail are one of the oddities of postal history and UPU regulations. Even though they are much desired especially among collectors of postal stationery, much of their history and the rules and practices of use in daily mail remain a mostly unknown territory. The item above shows the earliest known use of a reply card between two countries. After Germany first introduced reply cards for use within the German Reich in 1872, in October 1873 Belgium and The Netherlands were the first two independent states to sign an agreement on the mutual acceptance of reply cards. This Belgium-Dutch agreement is largely unknown as are any used cards under this agreement before UPU admission. The above card was sent back from Brugge in Belgium and returned to The Netherlands in March 1874, making it the earliest ever known usage of such a card across country borders.

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March 13
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm